In a polarized region, Peru has proven to be a vital partner for the United States—one with the political will to consolidate democracy and pursue equitable economic growth in a way that conserves the environment. This strong commitment and mutually supportive USG-GOP relationship, affirmed by a meeting between Presidents Obama and Humala at the November 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Hawaii, offers an opportunity to make a significant, positive impact on Peru’s future and on the region. Peru serves as one of the strongest examples in Latin America of how a democratic, lower-income country can emerge from poverty through trade-led growth, responsible environmental stewardship, and sound macroeconomic policies.
Peru is characterized by diverse cultures and one of the most varied geographies in Latin America. Its half-million square miles are divided into three distinct zones: the arid coastal desert, the rugged Andean mountains, and the tropical Amazon jungle. The differences are most pronounced between the coastal desert, which covers only 16 percent of the territory but holds 60 percent of the population and 70 percent of the wealth, and the Amazon Basin, which covers 50 percent of the territory, yet contains only 12 percent of the population and 7 percent of the wealth. The varied terrain and cultures and rich natural resources present both opportunities and challenges for Peru’s development.
In 2009, Peru became an upper middle-income country with a Gross National Income per capita of $3,990. In 2010, Peru’s GDP per capita grew to $5,224 (Peruvian Central Bank, 2011), with total GDP of $154 billion (Peru Central Bank 2011), continuing as one of the strongest economic performers in Latin America. However, Peru’s Gini coefficient (income disparity measurement) of 0.51 remains relatively high by developing country standards (UNDP, 2010). Peru experienced an impressive reduction in poverty rates, from 54 percent in 2001 to 31.3 percent in 2010 (Peruvian National Statistics Office, 2010); nonetheless, poverty levels and social indicators still place Peru behind many countries in the region (World Bank, 2011).
Working together with the Government of Peru, USAID implements a Fiscal Year 2012 budget of $52 million with programs in alternative development, environment, health, democracy and governance, education, and economic growth. USAID/Peru also manages the FY 2012 $19 million South American Regional programs for malaria prevention and environmental conservation, while additionally providing legal, procurement, financial, administrative management, and environmental compliance support to six missions in South America. The Mission has 36 U.S. Direct Hires (USDH), two U.S. Personal Services Contractors (USPSC), and 89 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). USAID/Peru is a leading training post for Development Leadership Initiative Officers (DLIs), with 13 DLIs among its 36 USDH.
Last updated: July 14, 2014